What Items to Buy Vintage

what to buy vintage

I’m asked a lot of different questions relating to vintage shopping, so I’ve been formatting my tips and thoughts into blog posts to help everyone and anyone who is interested in shopping vintage.  The most frequent question I’m asked is what items to buy vintage and general tips for shopping these items.  This post offers a general guideline for what I find are the most frequently needed items at a good deal.  I’ll be honing this list and preparing specific lists for what to buy vintage home decor and fashion editions (stay tuned!).  Of course, if there are any other vintage or thrifting questions you have, drop me a line! I’d love to see what you pick up at the flea or thrift store, so be sure to tag me on Instagram or hashtag #ThrilloftheThrift!


vintage designer fashion

If you love wool capes, leather jackets, unique designer pieces, or fringe coats, then buying vintage is the way to go.  Not only will you get high quality craftsmanship and fabric, but a great deal on it as well. My houndstooth cape was a steal at $15 as was my raspberry suede jacket at $35, both picked up at the local thrift store. This Moschino Jacket was a splurge at $55 but well worth it! Rather than picking up an average piece, I look for special detailing which can be buttons, stitching or the color. Of course, nothing beats a vintage denim jacket so shop away even for the basics.


vintage art

Love art but broke? Don’t know a thing about art but want to add character at home? Perfect! Buying vintage artwork has it’s perks: it’s inexpensive if you’re not shopping by name and you can transform your space with a single item. I’m particular to abstract expressionist art while Alan prefers impressionist (one of the points of major disagreement in our home!). Or you can find something that is borderline creepy yet awesome, like moody girl here. The flea is a great spot to pick up fun artwork. Remember to measure the space that artwork will hang and shop accordingly.  Vintage art also help bring together a gallery wall. You can really make smaller maps, travel guides, and prints help you fill up space.

Silk Scarves

vintage silk scarf

You cannot have enough silk scarves. I repeat, you cannot have enough silk scarves. You can tie it around your neck for a Parisienne vibe, use is as a turban for a pool party, or add some flair to a handbag.  You can get really lucky with silk scarves as vintage designer scarves are sometimes mixed in with average silk scarves in the 99 cent bin at the local thrift store. I picked up a 60s Gucci silk scarf for $.99 at the Salvation Army. It was missing the Gucci tag, but I recognized the horse-bit design and markings. Even if you’re not after a designer piece, you’ll use the scarf more than most pieces in your closet.


vintage levis

My post about buying vintage Levi’s jeans was really popular, justifiably so.  Everyone wants a perfectly worn in pair of jeans and Levi’s are the epitome of vintage cool. Look for the uppercase “E” in LEvi’s to ensure you’re buying vintage and shop men’s and women’s jeans for the perfect fit.

Costume Jewelry

vintage tassel necklace

I’m my mother’s daughter and I can’t get enough of costume jewelry. Of course I love fine jewelry, but it’s not quite as fun as fantastically over the top vintage jewelry.  I’m particularly fond of charm bracelets, tassel necklaces, and large clip on earrings.  In my experience shop for these items at a vintage show or shop.  You don’t need to spend more than $40 on these pieces, especially enamel but you’ll be getting great quality pieces.  If the gold looks tarnished, negotiate down in price and just give it a nice clean when you get home to restore its vintage splendor.  If you’re buying earrings, err on the side of hygiene and take it to a jewelry repair to have the earpiece replaced before you wear it.  If you are inclined to shop for designer names, I like: Christian LaCroix, Givenchy, Whiting & Davis, and Dior.


vintage brass unicorn

Do you collect tchotchkes? I’m addicted to it and Alan wonders how he ever got tangled up with a vintage hoarder. In my defense, I’m a minimalist hoarder and know how to hide my finds. Back to decor, thrift stores and flea markets have smaller decor items enough to fill several football fields.  I look for brass items like this brass unicorn, heirloom dishes for storing jewelry, and heavier pieces I can use as bookends.

I’ve selected some great finds online for you, but it’s not quite as fun as the flea right?



  1. October 29, 2015 / 5:00 pm

    Love this post! So helpful. I’m the worst at vintage shopping.

  2. November 5, 2015 / 6:29 pm

    Wow, amazing post, love these collections!!!

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